NASA‘s Mars InSight Probe has just discovered something unexpected about Mars. The planet emits strange electromagnetic pulses that last up to two hours during the Martian night.

The pulses themselves are not so strange in astronomy. The strange thing is that they only happen at night.

The discovery has just been made public by the Insight probe team during a conference at the Congress of Planetary Sciences in Europe and the American Astronomical Society.

The study presented includes much more accurate measurements of the magnetic field of Mars and even more evidence of the existence of water beneath its surface.

The Insight Probe was launched into space in 2018 and carries three planetary science instruments on board along with an extensive catalog of secondary instruments, some of which had never been used on the planet, such as a magnetometer.

A team from the University of Los Angeles, California led by astronomer Christopher Russell has analyzed the data obtained with that magnetometer and has discovered that Mars has a stronger than expected magnetic field.

Its electrical currents travel through the ionized part of its atmosphere and, sometimes, the magnetic field emits pulses at night.

These pulses can last up to two hours and are stronger in the north direction. Pulses of this type are not uncommon, but the fact that they only occur at Martian night is something for which researchers do not yet have an explanation.

The goal now is to try to understand that difference between the magnetic pulse of Mars and that of the Earth.

The fact that more evidence of the existence of water has been found is another very interesting fact considering that we now know that the planet housed oceans in the past.

Researchers can use the magnetometer to find conductive regions of electricity beneath the Martian surface, but more data is still missing before we can determine its location and size.

The InSight probe has only been taking data from Mars for a year, and in fact it has just woken up from a lethargy after a solar conjunction, so much information remains to be extracted and analyzed.

NASA also has a plan to unlock the Insight lander’s thermal sensor, whose drilling has stopped due to a harder layer of material.